Tag Archives: St. Francis

Fall at the monestary

13 Nov

I’m fortunate enough to have Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America right in my neighborhood.  After Mass at the the Memorial Church of the Holy Sepulchre (modeled after the Hagia Sophia), this morning I enjoyed walking through its famous gardens and taking photos.

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The fall foliage was a beautiful backdrop for the replicas of alters in the Holy Land and mosaics. I also strolled through the Rosary Portcio to see some of the 15 chapels with their murals and 200 plaques depicting the “Hail Mary” prayer in ancient and modern languages.

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Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi!

4 Oct

Original photo by Flickr user The Consortium. Manipulated by me.

From what I can tell, St. Francis was the original hippie.

The young Italian from the 12th century who founded three orders was all about peace, love, animals and the environment. Just look at his “Canticle of the Creatures:”

All praise be yours, My Lord,
through all that you have made.
And first my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day….

How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them, bright and precious and fair.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air….

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
So useful, lowly, precious and pure.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten up the night….

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us…and produces various fruits
With colored flowers and herbs….

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.

He also used to talk to the animals, encouraging them to praise God.  There are stories of animals responding to St. Francis’s voice.

His love for all of God’s creation earned him the honor of patron saint of animals and ecology. In 1979, Pope John Paul II said, “St. Francis invited all creation—animals, plants, natural forces, even Brother Sun and Sister Moon— to give honor and praise to the Lord.”

People around the country (maybe world?) bring their pets to churches Franciscan monasteries for a special blessing today in honor of the patron saint of animals.

His inspired the famous plea for peace, The Prayer of St. Francis, written years after his death around World War I. This AmericanCatholic.org column examines when the prayer was written and reflects on how St. Francis exemplified each simple word.

The prayer led to this popular hymn. It’s been a favorite of mine for years. (I scoured YouTube for a version that sounded good and included lyrics)

This year’s feast day is particularly special to me as I get ready to start as a communications volunteer at the Franciscan Mission Service headquarters in Washington DC. The lay Catholic organization trains and sends missionaries to poor communities around the world.

I am looking forward to learning more about this groovy guy and his teachings over the next year.